Afghan Emergency (Circle 127)

The Afghan Emergency Circle was formed in August 2021 following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul where the Government of Afghanistan and many other Afghanis had to escape as quickly as possible. The Australian Government flew 3,000 people out of Kabul with many of these people arriving in Adelaide over a couple of months in 2021. Many organisations have been involved in assisting these people settle into Adelaide. Circle of Friends received many requests for assistance with settlement issues beyond the capacity of the other organisation. Organisations which referred Afghani’s needing assistance were the settlement service, AMES, the Education Department’s Afghan liaison worker, STTARS and the Refugee Health Service.

The Afghan Emergency Circle was able to form due to an initial generous donation from the Glenside Lions club and then ongoing generous donations from individuals plus two generous grants from Suzanne Elliot Charitable Trust enabled to Circle to continue. The on-ground work of visiting and supporting families and individuals has been done by an amazing group of volunteers, many of whom joined after Circle of Friends sent out a request for assistance. After joining one of our new volunteers wrote on how volunteering with Circle of Friends had affected their life:

“When I retired from work I felt my useful life was over and although I was free to travel and pursue my few hobbies it was not enough. Since I have started volunteering a whole new world has opened up for me and I feel like it is the best job I have ever had.”

The newly arrived refugees from Afghanistan need assistance with all aspects of resettlement. This includes support with adjustment to their new life in Adelaide. We are volunteers/friends first but with the combined knowledge and resources of our group we can also provide information about systems that they need to navigate such as Centrelink, health services, accommodation, furniture, etc. We also find and donated goods to help them set up home. We take people to appointments and have a genuine desire to make our friends welcome and settled.

In the past few years the people that the Circle assists has expanded in a number of ways. Since the initial airlift of Afghanis in 2021, more Afghan families and individuals have arrived after sheltering in other countries on Humanitarian Visas. Additionally in 2023, the Australian government announced that people on temporary protection visas, either TPVs or SHEVs, could apply for permanency. With permanent residency people were then eligible to apply for family reunion visas. We are assisting people who are naturally keen to bring their families to Australia after being apart for 10 years. Unfortunately, some of the people we support have been injured at their work places and so need financial assistance to make the costly immigration process possible.

In 2023 we were pleased to be able to ran a successful fundraising dinner at Rumi for application fees for one daughter. We thank the general community who have played a crucial role in sustaining the Afghan Emergency Circle’s support work through their attendance at events and by making donations. These donations remain vital to ensure costs of groceries, clothing, healthcare, education, and family reunion assistance can be met.